“Do Not Read Books (Or Ebooks),” Carly Phillips

Mar 23rd, 2016 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

The recent increase in smartphone usage and the upsurge in the popularity of ebooks and the many forums dedicated to discussing and enjoying books and literature have contributed to the growing concern about reading. Studies by many medical professionals have linked reading to many dangerous activities such as temporarily ignoring reality, using imagination, calling attention to real-world issues, becoming attached to characters, creating theories and critically analyzing stories, and using already generated work to inspire so-called “fan-work” to express appreciation.

Reality is not something to ever be ignored and reading is one of the many ways that people have been using to escape the rigors of daily life. Far too many people have been “escaping” to fantasy worlds and claiming that it relaxes them and allows them to keep on with their daily tasks. This is clearly an excuse because there can be nothing of worth in these made-up people and places. Humans are incapable of using the “lessons” given in stories to inspire and contribute to day-to-day routines. I, for example once read a story called “The Elephant’s Child” and found nothing about the habits or behavior of elephants–or any other creature for that matter–it was merely a fanciful tale about a small elephant getting its nose grossly disfigured and starting a horrible trend of said disfigurement. The writer also addressed the reader as “best beloved” which I found a most familiar term for such a distant relationship.

Tens of millions of readers have said that they enjoy reading because it encourages the use of their imagination. Imagination is something to be strongly discouraged because it promotes “thinking outside the box” which is a very dangerous thing to do. The “box” is there for a reason, and it helps keep everything tidy and in its place. Imagination also gives people the false idea that they could change something or make it better. Everyone knows that in order to change something a person has to have great power, and all these stories about young and unimportant characters changing and doing great things is unrealistic and will ultimately lead to discouragement. Power is power and if you have no power, it is far better to stay at home than to try to change something and cause an unseemly ruckus.

Stories have also been said to bring attention to problems that exist in the real world. I personally have not noticed any of that in my experience, but the notorious Harry Potter series has been reported to draw attention to problems such as racism and war and the pain that stems from those issues. I skimmed through the first of these books and only saw absurd things about dragons and magic, which is laughable because they don’t exist. No book with such silly nonsense could have any impact or value on any person who reads them. I also heard that readers of Harry Potter also get strange notions of being able to stop wars, when it is apparent that wars happen all the time and it is impractical to think that any group of people can stop them.

My own daughter, I am sad to say, claims to enjoy reading because she says that she can relate to the characters in the stories she reads. She is clearly exercising her imagination and confusing the fantasies for reality. Her delusions are leading her to believe that characters can have personality, of all things. No flat words on paper could make a fake person seem real because they are not real and only imagination can make you think they’re real. These characters cannot have any influence in rational people, after all Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wasn’t attacked in the streets because he finally killed Sherlock Holmes. People celebrated the downfall of this infamous but useless character.

Many readers create wild theories about the things that go on behind the scenes of their favorite works. While this does mean that they are using their minds and learning to conduct research, they are also using their imaginations and they should be using that time to work on homework or spend time doing something productive.

Some people use their favorite stories to inspire fanworks such as fanart, fanfiction, songs, games and other absurdities. As they are not original works, they are obviously plagiarism under an assumed name and should be treated as such. If something is not a truly new idea, it does not have enough merit to exist. After all, the great playwright William Shakespeare used only new ideas for all of his plays and never reused or “borrowed” from any other works. Some people try to excuse fanworks as using the original as guidelines to help new artists to get a start in their chosen medium. Such excuses are clearly self-indulgent and cannot be included in any analysis of any sort.


Defenestration-Generic Female 01Carly Phillips grew up in Utah and Nevada, and was homeschooled until the age of fourteen. She is a student at Dixie State University working on her BS in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing.

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